Maharashtra was among the first states to be swept by the ferocious second wave of the coronavirus in India
With more than 8,000 children catching the coronavirus in the month of May in Maharashtra‘s Ahmednagar, the state has started taking extra steps to minimize the impact of a possible third wave of COVID-19 that may affect children more.
In Maharashtra’s Sangli city, a COVID-19 ward is being prepared especially for children. Currently, five children are being treated here and the facility is being prepared for more patients.
“We have prepared this Covid ward for kids so that if and when the third wave comes, we are prepared. And kids will not feel they are in a hospital but instead will feel they are in a school or a nursery,” corporator Abhijit Bhosale said.
Authorities were alarmed when they found at least 8,000 children and teenagers tested positive for the coronavirus in Ahmednagar this month, accounting for about 10 per cent of the cases in the district.
The district administration is reaching out to paediatricians to make sure they are prepared for the third wave.
“In May alone 8,000 kids got positive. This is worrying,” Ahmednagar district chief Rajendra Bhosale said.
MLA Sangram Jagtap said, “During the second wave of coronavirus, there was a shortage of beds and oxygen. So, we need to avoid that during the third wave coronavirus and hence need to fully prepare ourselves.”
The state government does not want to take any chances, with sources saying they expect a possible third wave could hit at the end of July or early August, giving authorities about two months to prepare.
Maharashtra was among the first states to be swept by the ferocious second wave of the coronavirus in India, which emerged in February, overwhelming hospitals and leaving patients and their families struggling to find treatment, medical oxygen and drugs.
The central government’s top scientific adviser Dr. K VijayRaghavan had said earlier this month that a third wave of the coronavirus is “inevitable”.
Experts Had Rang the Bell Already
Though the country is yet to see the back of the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have raised apprehensions about another virulent wave that may hit the country by the end of this year and is more likely to affect children. Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health, spoke to NDTV in May, where the interviewer was trying to learn about how to prepare for the possible next wave and how to shield children from its attack. Dr Shetty has been recently appointed as the Chairman of the task force to prepare for the third wave by the Government.
According to Dr Shetty, the experience of the United States of America and European countries indicates that there is a strong possibility of the third wave in India and the virus is behaving almost similarly in these regions. He said,
“We are most likely to face the third wave and there is a possibility that it will predominantly target the children. Mainly because most adults may already be infected or immunised. So, coronavirus has to find a new host and so the most vulnerable group in large number are the children.”
He added that children, especially those below the age of 12 will be the worst affected. There are approximately 34.7 crore children in the country in the age group 0-14 years as of March 1 as projected by the National Commission on Population under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in its report ‘Population Projections For India And States 2011-2036’.
The first wave primarily attacked the senior citizens with comorbidities like kidney disorders, diabetes, cardiac issues among others. The second wave targeted the large of young breadwinners of the family. Now the next vulnerable group are children. The virus keeps changing its approach, said Dr Shetty.
The Digpu News Bottomline
Experts had rung bells about a possible and deadlier second wave of the pandemic in India, at least 6-8 months before the country was actually struck by it. The administration chose to turn a deaf ear to it, resulting in a dance of death and destruction from north to south and east to west in the country. Now that second wave has been retreating in baby steps, the experts have again warned about a third wave with the predictions already starting to come true in Maharashtra.
It remains to be seen how the BJP led central government shows its governance in case the third wave does actually spread throughout the country.